EU envoy accuses Russia of delaying approval of Sputnik vaccine

Russian authorities have repeatedly delayed inspections by the European Union’s main medicines regulator that are necessary for the approval of its Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, the bloc’s ambassador to Russia said on Friday. country’s media.

Moscow criticized the bloc for not approving the use of the vaccine earlier, but Ambassador Markus Ederer said the extended deadline was not politically motivated.

“The Russian side has repeatedly postponed the timing of the inspection requested by the EMA, slowing down the process,” Ederer told the local RBC outlet, referring to the European Medicines Agency. “These are the facts.”

Sputnik V has been approved for use in more than 70 countries, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund that has supported the development of the vaccine. But it has not been approved by the European regulator or the World Health Organization. This creates difficulties for Russians traveling to the European Union and the United States.

Mr Ederer rebuffed regular claims by Russian authorities that the lack of approval was political.

“This is a technical rather than a political process,” he said. “When Russian officials talk about the delay and the politicization of the process by the European side, I sometimes think that they are largely referring to themselves, because they are the ones who make the policy.”

Russia’s health ministry said in a statement released by the state-run TASS news agency on Friday that the European regulator had received the required documents at the end of September. EMA officials could visit in December, he said.

Separately, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization said on Friday that the agency was “on the verge” of resolving outstanding issues with the certification of Sputnik V.

“We are slowly solving most of the problems,” spokeswoman Fadéla Chaib said at a press briefing in Geneva, without specifying a timetable.

Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said last week that there was only paperwork left for WHO certification. Once the UN agency has received all the necessary data and inspected the production sites, it can schedule a meeting to validate a vaccine for an emergency use list.

In Russia, vaccine skepticism and nonchalance with the virus have led to rising infection rates. The country recorded a record 936 Covid deaths and 27,246 new infections on Friday.

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